US Secretary Blinken urges Israelis, Palestinians not to ‘inflame tensions’

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Tel Aviv on Monday for talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials as part of his three-day visit to the Middle East.

Blinken was in Egypt’s capital Cairo earlier where he met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The officials held talks on different issues including efforts to de-escalate tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.

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After landing in Tel Aviv, Blinken called on Israelis and Palestinians not to inflame tensions amid one of the deadliest recent surges of violence in the decades-long conflict.

“It’s the responsibility of everyone to take steps to calm tensions rather than inflame them,” the top US diplomat said, ahead of his talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu amid concern at home and abroad over the policies of Netanyahu’s new right-wing government.

He is also expected to hold talks with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

After arriving in Egypt on Sunday, Blinken said he wanted to strengthen Washington’s “strategic partnership” with Egypt, a major recipient of US military aid that has helped mediate in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Blinken’s meeting with Sisi also addressed regional issues including attempts to relaunch a political transition in Sudan and to break the deadlock between rival factions in Libya, according to a statement from US State Department spokesman Ned Price.

He then spoke in a joint news conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, where he said that a two-state solution is the only path to a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Blinken also added that he will encourage parties in Israel and the occupied West Bank to calm things down and de-escalate tensions.

During the news conference, Blinken touched on the situation with Iran saying that it is important to continue to work against Iran’s actions in the region.

“For the United States as well as for many of our partners in the region, it is very important that we continue to deal with and work against, as necessary, the various actions that Iran is engaged in throughout the region and beyond,” Blinken said.

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